The Commons

Explore our archive of articles on The Commons.

Sharing the World’s Resources

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As the 21st Century unfolds, humanity is faced with a stark reality. Following the world stock market crash in 2008, people everywhere are questioning the unbridled greed, selfishness and competition that has driven the dominant economic model for decades. The old obsession with protecting national interests, the drive to maximise profits at all costs, and the materialistic pursuit of economic growth has failed to benefit the world’s poor and led to catastrophic consequences for Planet Earth.

On the Commons and the International Commons Conference

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As more and more of the world’s population has gained access to the Internet so a growing number of free and open movements have appeared — including the free and open source software movements, free culture, creative commons, open access and open data.

Protecting Natural Ecosystems and the Commons

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Maude Barlow gave this stirring plenary speech, full of hope even in the face of ecological disasters, to the Environmental Grantmakers Association annual retreat in Pacific Grove, California. Barlow, a former UN Senior Water Advisor, is National Chairperson of the Council of Canadians and founder of the Blue Planet Project.

The Commons of Mind, Life and Matter: Toward a Non-Polar Framework for Global Negotiations

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The term commons was first used during the enclosure period in Britain when people were removed from their communal lands. Since then, commons have come to represent areas of co-governance and co-production that lie outside of the market and state sectors (or Market State), including food, water, clean air, energy, information, internet, culture, indigenous peoples’ rights and other concerns.

Global Commons Goods | Civil Society as Global Commons Organizations

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Effective management of global resources is not possible under our present multilateral system. Because national jurisdictions and institutions rarely line up with the actual geographical regions that contain ecosystems and social and cultural groups, many of the world’s transboundary resource areas lack responsible public oversight.

Interest Rates and Climate Change: Realigning our Incentives through the Power of the Commons

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During the past several decades, humanity has emerged as a perilous force of nature. Through its technological, economic and political choices and activities, modern civilization has produced destructive economies of scale, powered by exponential growth and fossil fuels. Our consumption of vital resources is already exceeding the carrying capacity of the planet.

People Sharing Resources | Toward a New Multilateralism of the Global Commons

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The opening decades of this century are a pivotal time in which many of our current beliefs and practices will be reexamined. During the last century, the economic and political catastrophes that befell the world inspired an earlier generation to create a multilateral system defined by an unprecedented vision of cooperation and security for the international community.

The Commons and Integral Capital

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The global economic crash is very big news. But what the media headlines and reports do not mention is how deeply this crisis is rooted in our history. During the past several centuries, businesses and government have become enmeshed in a single system. State capitalism now exists in virtually every sovereign nation.

A Common Matter

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What Is the Global Commons? While the term ‘commons’ has been in use for centuries in one context or another, […]

The Gift Economy | Generosity 2.0

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My wife and I were on a walking pilgrimage in a sparsely populated region of Western India when we were approached by a radiant villager. “I would like to offer you a meal,” he said, “Will you accept my offering?” When we gladly agreed he added, “We don’t have any running water or electricity in our small hut. Our family is poor but we like to give from whatever we have.”